Emerging church seeks return to roots


By United Methodist News Service

Young adults, seminarians and pastors with a heart for the Gospel are thinking and talking about new ways to “do church” by transforming churchgoing from the inside out. More than 50 people gathered in Nashville Oct. 4-6 for an “emergingumc” conference on getting back to the roots of church and its mission.

The event was sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. The emerging church is a nondenominational grass roots movement that intertwines evangelism and social justice to make the church more relevant to today’s culture and to make worship and Christian life authentic, experiential and connected.

Known officially as the emerging missional church, the concept is about turning the church from a place of ritual worship to one of reclaiming mission as the foundation, said the Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards, director of worship resources for the United Methodist Board of Discipleship.

A lot of “emerging” is taking place within existing congregations of all sizes and denominations and is especially being led by young adults. They relish a non-institutional approach to church and innovative worship but hold to traditional Christian beliefs. They also reconstruct and deconstruct those beliefs to accommodate and “do church” in post modern culture. They create community.

According to United Methodists in the movement, the emerging church seeks to transform churchgoing from the inside out through questioning basic traditions. It is a movement about theology but is ambiguous and anti-programmatic.